Where’s My Refund?

Where’s My Refund?

© David Burton 2012

Where's my refund

     So here I am in late June of 2012. I completed my multi-page federal income tax return for 2011 back in February and submitted it electronically to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) prior to the end of February. Since I used TurboTax, the return was checked for errors by TurboTax and accepted by the IRS. According to my computations (actually the computations were made by TurboTax), I overpaid my taxes and am due a refund.

     According to the IRS web site, “If you e-file, you can generally expect your refund within 10 - 21 days. ” The IRS web site also states: “Keep in mind that IRS telephone assistors will not be able to provide additional information. ” O.K. This means that I should have expected to receive my refund sometime between 10 March 2012 and 21 March 2012. It’s now mid-June 2012 and I have seen neither hide nor hair of my refund and it’s now over 100 days since my return was accepted by the IRS.

     The IRS tells me that I can check on the status of my refund via the internet by going to their web site at www.irs.gov and clicking on “where’s my refund?” To do so, I need to 1) acknowledge that I am accessing their web site for “authorized purposes” only, 2) provide my social security number, 3) tell them that I filed a join return with my wife and, 4) tell them the exact amount of the refund that I am expecting. After following these 4 steps, I receive the following response: “”Refund Status Results: Your tax return has been received and is being processed. If you file a complete and accurate tax return, your refund will be issued: within six weeks of the received date.” I started checking on my refund some 6 weeks after sending in my return and have continued to do so ever since – I’m now up to 16 weeks and still no refund.

     One thing the IRS web site does provide is a feedback survey. The survey asks 3 questions: 1) “How satisfied were you with the ease of locating the Refund Status application on our irs.gov web site? ” My response: Satisfied; 2) “How satisfied were you with the ease of using the Refund Status application? ” My response: Satisfied; and, 3) “How satisfied were you with the helpfulness of the information you received through this application? ” My response: Dissatisfied. I must have submitted the same responses to the survey more than 2 dozen times to date and have never once been asked by the IRS why I am dissatisfied with the information provided. Certainly, their web site has not improved to the point where it is of any use to me.

     How about calling the IRS and talking to a real live person about my tax refund? The IRS web site says to call 1-800-829-1040, which I do. Here, I get a computer with which to converse. I go through the automated sequence of questions and answers and Voilla - I get the same result as with their web site, i.e., “”Refund Status Results: Your tax return has been received and is being processed. If you file a complete and accurate tax return, your refund will be issued: within six weeks of the received date.” Next, I go to the Contact the IRS for live assistance tab which tells me to call 1-800-829-4477. I do so and am directed to either go to the www.irs.gov web site or to call 1-800-829-1040 - SO MUCH FOR LIVE ASSISTANCE! When I try contacting the local IRS office, I am told, via a recored message, that I can either make an appointment to appear in person at their office, go to their web site or call the magic 1-800-829-4477 phone number - BIG HELP! That seems to take care of "live" assistance. I am beginning to believe that thare are no living breathing bodies at the IRS - it seems that the IRS is only one massive impersonal computer that cannot really do anything but spout pre-recorded instructions, messages and canned responses and lead the taxpayer around in circles.

     So, the IRS can promulgate, interpret, and enforce a tax code (Title 26 of the US Code of Federal Regulations) that consists of twenty volumes containing 16,845 mostly incomprehensible pages in total, but they are incapable of developing and maintaining a web site that would tell me when I might actually receive a refund due me or if there’s a problem, how to get it resolved. We have here another example of governmental bureaucracy gone astray – the rules and regulations of the IRS are too complicated for anyone (including themselves) to understand and it is non-responsive to the clientele it is supposed to serve – you and I. Where’s my refund? – I certainly don’t know and I doubt whether the IRS knows!

  22 June 2012 {Article 130; Govt_29}    
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